Bus it? | VailDaily.com

Bus it?

Nicole Frey
NWS Avon Bus PU 4-9

AVON – Of the three neighborhoods in Avon that offer affordable housing, only one has a bus route. The Sunridge area has none. Neither does Buffalo Ridge. The Eaglebend apartments neighborhood is currently served, but this may end. Public Works Director Bob Reed asked the Avon Town Council to consider reinstating the Hurd Lane bus route for the summer. Last year, it had been recommended the route be removed when it looked like the town wouldn’t have the money to operate the route. But more recent review shows the town would have the funds for the route. “Public mobility is a big issue in town and always has been,” Reed said. “To cut service to an affordable housing area doesn’t make sense.”The Hurd Lane route starts at the Avon Crossing apartments, servicing the Eaglebend apartments, the Elk parking lot, East Avon, including City Market and the Christi Lodge, and parts of West Avon, including the recreation center and public library.

When the winter season ends April 16, the route will be combined with another town route, which will slow service from a pick-up every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes. When the summer season starts in June, the town will either continue the combined route or reinstate the Hurd Lane route. Councilors also could choose to do away with the Hurd Lane route altogether, but it seems unlikely. “I think it would be a shame to not have bus service there,” said resident Dale Aden, who lives on Hurd Lane. Councilors appeared interested in reinstating the route but focused more on the possibility of adding bus service to the Village at Avon, including Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and the Buffalo Ridge apartments. Reed said the town often gets calls from residents requesting service in those areas. However, according to the agreement Avon has with Village at Avon developer, Traer Creek, the developer is obligated to pay for bus service to the Village at Avon. Traer Creek representatives declined to comment about bus routes. “I don’t know why they don’t want to provide service there,” Reed said.

With Traer Creek unwilling to step up, Mayor Ron Wolfe asked the councilors if Avon wants to foot the bill for service in that area.Councilwoman Debbie Buckley said it was council’s obligation to provide bus service to citizens, especially since Avon has several affordable housing options. And Councilman Brian Sipes added it’s “high time” the Village at Avon gets service. “Regardless of who’s paying for it, we should supply routes that make sense … to get the most people going where they want to go,” Sipes said. Councilwoman Amy Phillips said many Buffalo Ridge residents work at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Beaver Creek and suggested asking the hotel management if they’d like to chip in for a route. Taking another angle, Councilman Mac McDevitt worried that even though the town may have funds to host the route this year, if forced to cancel it in the future, Avon may have to deal with a lot of angry residents.

“I think you’re going down a slippery slope,” he said. Council will discuss the issue again in the future. Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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